Our Wild    Life

Nature photography by John Langley ARPS & Tracy Langley ARPS

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Summer Mountain Hares - September 2016

Mountain hares are such cute characters that they’re addictive. We’ve seen them on several trips in the winter but hadn’t really spent long with them in the summer months. In September 2016 we had 2 weeks, hiking up the same hills. This time we were able to see the landscape that lay beneath the blanket of snow during our last visit - moorland with a beautiful ground cover of flowering heather.

It was actually harder to see the hares in their summer brown-grey coats than it was to see them in their white winter coats on the snow. We think this was because in the winter many of the hares tend to sit on top of the snow, so you can see the shape of them from a fair distance away and slowly get closer. This time, they blended in so well with the moorland and often they were actually underneath the heather, or in burrows. Many times we didn’t spot a hare only to have it jump to life when we were only a few feet away, then it would dash off. After a few days our spotting skills improved.

The weather was fairly mixed. We had high winds for several days, with a few wet days, and we were praying for calmer weather. However when one particularly calm day brought thousands of midges, even on the hill tops, we were soon praying for the wind to blow again. Fortunately the breezy weather returned, so we didn’t have to donate too much blood to our photographic cause.

Some of the hares were the same colour as the surrounding moorland, making them hard to spot

Some of the hares preferred the longer grass and were easy to spot as long as they sat up

The easiest hares to spot were those that ran along the mountain ridges

Occasionally a hare just popped out of the heather and seemed transfixed by us

Although it was summer, you wouldn’t have known - wooly hats & gloves were still needed

We found some of the hares in the same place on several days

- this confiding hare had a deep burrow in the heather

and allowed us to watch behaviour such as washing & stretching

Another hare with a burrow in the shorter heather

The hare spent most of the day dozing just beside its burrow,

then venturing out to feed for very short periods

Most of the hares we saw were very shy and ran off before we even spotted them

A few of them actually approached us, trying to figure out what we were

Sometimes they came so close we could hardly fit them in the frame !

We got a lot of inquisitive looks that hares do so well

This was the youngest hare we saw - practicing “the look”

This hare was dozing on its bed of heather

We had a lot of fun spending time with these beautiful creatures

- we’re looking forward to our next trip here in the New Year.

Top 2015 Mountain Hares